It seemed like Sunday would finally be the day Palermo ended their winless streak. But Cagliari substitute Thiago Ribeiro wrecked the celebrations in the 90th minute, snatching a 1-1 draw for the home side. The rosanero woes continue, mired in the relegation zone and winless since their derby victory over Catania on November 24.
Indeed it was Cagliari who started off the brighter of the two sides, with Mauricio Pinilla getting a shot off in the first minute. New Palermo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino did well to push it away, however. Then came a series of seemingly endless corners for the home side, ending only when Palermo finally forced their own, leading to a miss from Josip Illicic.
The Slovenian redeemed himself in the 30th minute, however, when he scored the opening goal. Andrea Dossena, who is proving to be a great signing for Palermo, pulled back to place a perfect ball for Ilicic. The attacker sent in a sharp strike from just outside the area, leaving no hope for Michael Agazzi.
Three minutes later, Cagliari nearly equalized. Daniele Conti got on the end of a Victor Ibarbo cross, but his header went just wide. Sorrentino then did well to stop a shot from Daniele Dessena, and even better to deny a strong shot from Marco Sau.
Sorrentino did well to prove his worth in the 44th minute, temporarily silencing those who wondered why Palermo would spend precious funds on a keeper when they already had quality in Samir Ujkani. A free kick taken by Conti flew straight at Sorrentino, but the keeper spilled the ball. Before Cagliari could get close, however, Sorrentino had it rescued the second time.
The second half was more of the same, with Palermo having just two shots in the entire 45 minutes. Cagliari were determined to claim their share, and possibly more, of the points, but didn't really find their groove until the final 20 minutes, when they began peppering Sorrentino's goal with shots.
The rosanero keeper made yet another great save in the 79th, after Sau got on the end of a ball from Davide Astori. But without support from his defense, it seemed inevitable that Sorrentino would let one slip. Sure enough, in the 90th minute, Cagliari found their equalizer. Ribeiro, on for Dessena, sent in a towering header from a cross by Danilo Avelar.
In the resulting chaos, Palermo captain Fabrizio Miccoli managed to earn a red card -- from the bench. Apparently Cagliari had been given a throw-in on a ball the rosanero felt should have been theirs, and Miccoli got a bit fired up about it.
Palermo still had just enough in the tank to prevent a last minute winner from Cagliari. Sau, on a fast break, was set for a one-on-one with Sorrentio, but Steve Von Bergen came sliding in, his perfect tackle preventing a probable winner.
Cagliari: Michael Agazzi; Danilo Avelar, Davide Astori, Luca Rossettini, Francesco Pisano; Radja Nainggolan, Daniele Conti, Daniele Dessena (Thiago Ribeiro 59); Mauricio Pinilla (Andrea Cossu 76), Marco Sau, Victor Ibarbo
Palermo: Stefano Sorrentino; Salvatore Aronica, Steve Von Bergen, Ezequiel Muñoz; Andrea Dossena, Jasmin Kurtic, Edgar Barreto, Michel Morganella (Massimo Donati 90); Josip Ilicic (Mauro Formica 70), Franco Brienza (Anselmo 83); Paulo Dybala
Goals: Josip Ilicic 30 (P), Ribeiro 90 (C)